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May 10, 2013 Twenty Ideas for Bulletin Board Borders By Meghan Everette
Grades PreK–K, 1–2, 3–5

    On our bulletin boards, my school focuses on displaying authentic student work, not pre-purchased decorations. But I have still found ways to my bulletin boards look cute despite my lack of funds. Here are 20 ideas for unique homemade border bulletin boards, and how to make use of leftover border bits!







    Homemade Borders

    Oversized Paper

    Oversized Paper LettersUsing butcher paper that is larger than your bulletin board, paste it onto the board so that it is flowing over the corners. Then trim the edges in fun shapes or easy patterns. You can even cut words into the paper edges, to make an interesting title around the board.

    Die Cuts

    Die Cut Car Border

    Using real die-cuts or  pre-packaged images can add interest and excitement to a board. Use race cars, or any other image related to your board's topic.


    Streamers as Border

    Crepe paper and streamers give bulletin boards a party feel. You can create ruffled boarders with cheap streamers. Patterned streamers, like these football field designs, can be laid flat or bubbled for interest.

    Butcher Ropes and Braids

    Braided BorderCrunching or twisting ropes of butcher paper makes great tree branches and twigs. Twisting the ropes into braids  adds even more flair for a Native American- or a Western-themed border.

    Playing Cards

    Playing cards, whether the standard Playing Card Bordervariety or from old board games, can make for an interesting and quick border. The cards are thick so they stand up well to being stapled. I used mine for a Harry Houdini-themed board, but they can add magic to any topic.


    Newspaper Border

    Take small squares of newsprint or magazines and fold them in fourths. Staple the folded corner and let the top fan outward. The fluffy border is fun and colorful. Use any scrap paper you have from old journals, discarded school supply catalogs, or tossed out worksheets.

    Super Sized Decorations

    Sometimes the border just isn’tOversized Backgrounds important at all. If you extend your bulletin board past normal boundaries, the attention is drawn to the "board," not the border. Take background images to the ceiling and floor. If you can’t stick them permanently, use Command removable strips as your tape and pull it right off when finished.


    Photos as Border

    Snap pictures while students are working on the project to be featured on the board. Print the photos with a color printer or at the local print shop. (They can be done for as little as nine cents each in some places!) Then lay the photos around the board to create a border people will notice.


    Boxes as Border

    Boxes of all types make fun borders. Cut the fronts off different cereal boxes for a bright and happy look. Use plain boxes turned into dioramas or temporary shelves to display student work. Ask a local shoe store for their extra boxes and you’ll have more than you could ever hope for!

    Leaves, Tickets, Snowflakes, and More

    The possibilities are endless when it comes to borders. Use the theme of your work to guide you. When displaying Border Leavesour Snowman Construction Company, students learned symmetry by cutting snowflakes, which then served as our border. Fall poetry is framed by fake leaves, and leftover ticket rolls from festivals make cute borders too. You are only limited by your imagination!

    If you do have abundance of pre-fabricated borders, here’s what to do!


    Off the Wall Ideas

    Double Borders

    Make your borders jazzy by doubling up on coordinating colors and designs. Layer corrugated cardboard rolls under a more colorful design. The bonus is a wider border, meaning less space you have to fill on the board! And try die cut letters from thick borders.


    Crowns and Sashes

    Wouldn’t school be more fun if we all Border Crownshad crowns and sashes? You can use them as rewards for jobs well done or create instant dress-up for plays. Read How Big is a Foot? and use borders printed with measurements to fashion a crown. Bring a smile to a geography bowl champion with regal headwear made of globe-decorated border material. Hand out sashes as incentives. You know you’d wear one!

    Classroom Decorations


    Border Door Decor

    Dress up the trash can and add sparkle around the room. A little bit of border can carry a theme home or make an object stand out as something special. Add it to your door, or anywhere you want to add pizazz. Cover tack strips with a border for a more finished and attractive hanging space.

    Instant Display Areas

    Bordered Paper Display

    Borders make objects look more definite and purposeful. Adding a border to paper can turn any area into a bulletin board. Fill an empty space near the ceiling or create a mini-display. Even adding a border around chart paper makes it hallway-worthy.

    Learning Tools

    Border as Tools

    Manipulatives don’t have to come from a math company. Any bits of odd materials can turn into learning tools. Create fraction strips with various colors and illustrate the idea of a whole with interestingly-shaped pieces. Practice measurements using your leftover border pieces. Thinking outside the box will help your kids think that way too!

    Room Dividers

    Break up table spaces and give eachBorder as Divider child his own workspace. Using masking tape or Command strips on border material will give you changeable spaces quickly, while securing it with clear packing tape will make it last longer. Keep it all current and thematic by changing your dividers to match the season.

    Check Sheet

    Border ChecksheetImpromptu behavior sheets or mini check boxes can be made with borders having geometric shapes. Cut small strips of border material in equal sizes and have students use them as a sign-off sheet as they earn points, find editing mistakes, or solve problems.


    Who wouldn’t love a new bookmark? My students go through them like they are going out of style. When you only have one sheet left, cut sections to make bookmarks. Most border material is thick enough to stand up to repeated use and the fun colors and designs are appealing for kids. And the white backsides are perfect for adding their names.

    Magnetic Displays

    Need one more magnetic surface in yourBorder on Air Vent room? Cover an air unit with butcher paper and add a border. You can even skip the paper altogether. The border makes the area look purposeful and draws attention to the displays. The best part is, you can use magnets to attach work. Just make sure that you do not cover vents or returns!

    Table Edging

    Adding a border to a table edge can be an Table Borderattractive way to dress up a room. Not only that, but it is practical; raise the border slightly higher than the edge of the table and pencils can’t roll off. This is a lifesaver around the back of my desk where pens fall past the computer into a wasteland. No more! A little bit of a border keeps everything on top of the desk.


    Using what you have in new ways saves money and can add interest. What unique borders have you created?


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